Welcome to Meteoroids and Orbital Debris
In recent history, space has gained a new type of inhabitant---trash! Forty years of space exploration have led to the accumulation of significant quantities of orbital debris. These objects range in size from a tiny paint chip to a giant inoperable satellite, and they travel at such incredible velocities that their presence is a point of extreme concern for scientists and astronauts. These projectiles strike with astounding force and can create shock waves in metal. Scientists are working to create materials that can best withstand these types of hypervelocity impacts.